An inspired variety of innovative worship songs,
This review is from: You: A Worship Project (MP3 Download)"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU" - 2 Chronicles 20:12
There is a saying among traditionalists that "all modern worship songs sound the same". Though this is an extreme generalisation, it does have a grain of truth in it as often worship songs blend into one, in being verse-climax-verse followed by another, slightly slower, version of the previous tune.
Which is what makes this album of worship songs all the more amazing. Based around the Bible verse at the top (which incidentally rhymes), the album is something I personally hadn't encountered in worship music - a worship project. And rather like The Alan Parsons project, its intention is to be something of a lab of worship music, where new ideas are tried, tested and (presumably) thrown out if they're not varied enough.
This album clearly contains an eclectic range of influences and styles. In a similar way to how London Calling by the Clash.succeeded in making each track a different genre, so this album covers an immense range of sounds, with all manner of guitars and pianos and a children's choir thrown in for good measure!
Among the influences my musically illiterate ear picked up were: smatterings of the Pixies, Sarah Mclachlan on my favourite track (track 7 - He Who Appoints) and even Savage Garden on track 15 (The Eyes Of The King).
On top of this, there are occasional `skit' tracks, which I can only imagine were inspired by a hip-hop album. Tracks 5, 8, 12 and 14 were basically poetic image-rich stories focussed around a Bible verse, the most striking of which was track 8 - Darkness (which wouldn't be out of place on the 28 Days Later soundtrack!) To give you a flavour of this, the story is read with a piano backing it, and the reader talks of a `black pillar of smoke' rising out of Europe, with the smoke the covering the whole continent. This is then linked into Isaiah 62:10, which is certainly a different interpretation of scripture!
Above all, the wonderful thing I found about this album was the fact that, unlike most worship albums, it was not at all nauseating. Normally, even with Hillsong, there is one over-baked over-the-top song that makes you cringe with nausea after a few listens. No such emotionalism here - only good songs.
My one criticism would be that the CD version does not appear to be available online and that the booklet and CD case do add a lot to the ethos of the project and the album (such as a Cello player who goes by the name of `Squiff'!)
However, if you want a fleshed-out version of the album, the only way it can be got is through going to the church itself which, as a member, I would sincerely encourage. And the lack of a sleeve in no way detracts from the cleverness of the music or the fascinating audio landscapes it delivers.
So, a truly pioneering album that definitely adds something new to the genre. And the weirdest thing is that this album seems to be the first original album produced by St Aldates, which makes this project into something of a bolt of lightning from a cloudless sky; a first-time album that surpasses even the efforts of Hillsong...
P.S. If you want a sample of two songs that St Aldates give away with their information pack (and encouraged me to purchase the album), then click on either of the following:
He Who Appoints